It’s nearly impossible to talk about food without talking about place—where something was grown, where it was eaten, what culture is represented in its preparation. The winners of this year’s Real Food Films contest reinforce this connection with intimate portraits of growers and consumers around the world, and this week in Topology, a few of our Three Rivers, Michigan friends will be highlighting their favorites.
I was thrilled when I stumbled upon the ten nominated short films in time for this past spring’s Rivers of Justice Film Festival, an event I help organize here in Three Rivers. As part of the festival, we showed the nominees at two events, one at the Three Rivers Public Library and one at World Fare.
Each time, the audience chuckled when the ducks scramble into the rice paddy in Farmed with Love, one of my personal favorites in the bunch about a Chinese farmer named Hou Xueying. Swimming upstream against the flow of conventional farming and her parents’ wishes, she grows rice without herbicides and pesticides and raises animals in a closed-loop ecosystem. There is so much beauty in her vision that comes across in the film, from the patterns of the harvested grains to the breezy openness of the work space where she does her packaging to the faces of the children she hopes to teach about growing food as her farm becomes a school. I hope we can all discover so much beauty and hope in growing and sharing food in the places where we find ourselves. Take just a few minutes to watch Hou Xueying’s story and get inspired!